An American father-son duo who helped former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn flee Japan were sentenced to jail by a Tokyo court on Monday, one for two years and the other 20 months.
The sentences are the first to be handed down in Japan in the Nissan saga, which began with former auto tycoon Ghosn’s shock arrest in 2018 on financial misconduct allegations.
Former US special forces operative Michael Taylor was jailed for two years, while his son Peter received a sentence of 20 months for their role in smuggling Ghosn onto a private jet inside an audio equipment box.
“This case enabled Ghosn, a defendant of serious crime, to escape overseas,” chief judge Hideo Nirei said. “Both defendants pulled off an unprecedented escape.”
Nirei said there was “no prospect” of Ghosn’s trial resuming because he is now a fugitive in Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.
The Taylors, who faced up to three years in prison, did not contest involvement in what US prosecutors described as “one of the most brazen and well-orchestrated escape acts in recent history”.
The pair both apologised in previous hearings at which Japanese prosecutors had sought a sentence of two years, 10 months for Michael, and two years, six months for Peter.
Their defence lawyers had argued that a suspended sentence was appropriate given their remorse, and asked that the 10 months they were in US detention before being extradited should be considered in sentencing.
But Nirei said that the detention period was not related to the crime and should be treated differently.
He informed the men, who wore dark suits and white shirts with no tie and remained silent as he spoke, that they could file an appeal within 14 days.